We've been at The Cycle Show 2022 at Alexandra Palace, London, UK and on the lookout for the latest and most innovative tech. There's been stunning custom bikes, as-yet-unreleased products plus some intriguing developments from Chris King – and it's not more anodizable things with bearings in.
The show's running all weekend, so if you want to check out the products in person, there's still still time to grab a ticket. But for now, let's jump into the highlights.
Reilly Fusion: hydroformed titanium
Brighton-based titanium specialists, Reilly Cycleworks, had their stunning new Fusion road bike out on display. As innovative as it is gorgeous, the tube shapes and construction are very unconventional for a titanium build.
With titanium and steel frames, typically these are built from straightforward round tubesets, with the more complicated and heavily shaped profiles tending to remain the preserve of aluminium frames, through the use of hydroforming techniques.
The tube profiles of the new Specialized Allez Sprint are a prime example of variety of shapes that can be produced. For Reilly to have applied this technique to titanium is quite a radical development.
Although the main tubes have been hydroformed using 3Al 2.5V titanium, the junction of the head tube and where the top tube meets the seat tube have instead been cast, with molten 6Al 4V titanium being poured into mould to create those shapes.
Again, a bit like the Allez Sprint, the join between the head tube and the down and top tubes are set back a little way from the head tube itself – although Reilly's welds at this point are almost imperceptible.
Built up with a Dura-Ace R9200 groupset and deep carbon wheels, the weight comes in at 8.2kg, with the frame claimed to weigh 1.7kg.
Chris King carbon rims
Chris King is best known for lovingly engineered – and brightly anodized – hubs and headsets. So a move to constructing with carbon marks quite a step change for the brand, even if it is quite fitting that name on the rims can now at last match those of the hubs.
But these hoops aren't just a carbon copy (if you will) of what's being produced by other brands. Whilst pretty much all of the carbon components you see – including cars and planes as well as bikes – use resins to set the shape and mechanical properties, this composite material isn't readily recyclable and leads to a huge amount of waste.
The difference with the Chris King rims is that they're using what the brand call FusionFiber technology, which uses nylon in the place of a resin to bond the structure together. Not only does this mean that the rims are fully recyclable, Chris King also claims it leads to 50 per cent better dampening, too.
The GRD23 wheels come in 700c only and utilise a hookless rim profile with a 23mm internal rim width. The 24 spokes are Sapim CX-Ray with a 2-cross lacing and the total wheel weight is claimed at a competitive 1,468 grams.
Pricing starts at $2,650 for the fully built wheels and the current lead time is "up to 60 days." You can find out more about the wheels on Chris King's website here (opens in new tab).
Muoverti Tilt bike
We had our first chance to ride the Muoverti Tiltibike, a smart bike with integrated steering which also allows you to bank the bike over through the corners.
Intended as a straight competitor to other high-end smart bikes, the Tiltbike allows you to shift gears, plus it will simulate gradients as well as keep the flywheel spinning on descents. It has an integrated power meter which is claimed to be accurate to +/- 1%, but further testing is required to fully verify that. The crank length is also adjustable between 165 and 175mm in 2.5mm increments.
Regarding the feel, being able to bank the bike over through the corners in a massive step change in terms of the realism, compared to steering plates that sit under the front wheel. The brakes not only control the flywheel, but also can modulate your speed in supported games.
There are elements that need ironing out, the most major being the fact that at the moment the steering input is only from the handlebars and doesn't take into account the degree to which the bike is banked over – which is quite different to how a bike handles outdoors. Apparently, this is fixable quite quickly with a software update, though.
Also, the electromagnetic resistance can give the feeling of a few slips when sprinting at around 1,000 watts. This is also said to be able to be mitigated with subsequent software updates, but as the Tacx Neo Bike Smart also suffers from this to some degree (only noticeable in the initial high-torque start of a sprint), it might be difficult to totally eliminate this.
However, given that this is the first iteration, it'll be very interesting to see how the Tiltbike develops.
Honbike driveshaft e-bike
Don't be put off by the nose-less saddle, it's actually quite comfortable and makes hopping on and off the step-through frame quite effortless – apparently even more so if you're wearing a dress.
But there is just so much more to this bike. First is use of a fully sealed drive shaft in the place of more typical chains or carbon belts. The longevity of the system is said to be 40,000km. To put that in perspective, the minimum distance to qualify for a cycling circumnavigation record from Guinness is just 29,00km. And in that time no maintenance or servicing of the drivetrain is required at all.
It's got a 300Wh battery which is claimed to be good for 20 miles / 32km, that's shorter than some e-bikes, but it keeps the weight lower so it's easier to take on trains and other public transport – further facilitated by its foldable capabilities.
It's got front and rear lights that run off the central battery and it comes with mudguards as standard. As it is a single-speed, there are no other gears you can shift into, so you're likely not going to be pedalling this over the 15.5mph / 25kph e-bike limit in the UK and EU. Lastly, there's the price, which is £1,799 / $1,999.
Swinging by the Hunt stand, we caught a look of a set of wheels that look a little wider and deeper than anything in current range. But details were pretty scant on the ground – so stay tuned for that release.
Litlok custom builds
Litelok had gathered together a selection of custom and one-off bikes. Starting at the top left, there's the Festka Scot that was painted by the duo Ondrash and Kašpárek with a technique involving transferring acrylic paints from the surface of water onto canvas – a process that gives unique and unrepeatable results every time.
Over on the top right we have the Esker from Enigma, combination of the Sussex-based titanium specialists' Flagship Excel model and its Escape gravel bike – making for a mixed-terrain, all condition mongrel. Made from a mixture of 3Al 2.5V and 6Al 4V titanium tubes, there's the option to customise everything from the geometry to the cable routing and eyelets.
At the bottom right, there's Goat from the Namibian brand Onguza, handbuilt by master builders Petrus Mufenge and Sakaria Nkolo. It features a full SRAM XPLR 1x build, with the Rudy forks and Zipp 101 carbon wheels. It'll be raced at the Migration Gravel Race in Kenya, this June by ex-pro cyclist Dan Craven.
Finally, we have a concept "eco-bike" from Canyon, which has used 3D printing to try and create a frame using the minimum amount of material. It's a striking looking design – although likely a pain to clean with the plethora of nooks and crannies for dirt to get wedged into.
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